The Mirror of Truth

The Magic Coin

The Gopher’s Other World

The Forbidden Union

The Trail of Paradox

The Squirrel and the Apple

The Camel’s Conclusion

Will and Trust

The Subservient Child

Fanning the Freedom Flame

The Seed of Possibility

Harvest Forlorn


“Stories tell us of what we already knew and forgot, and remind us of what we haven’t yet imagined.”

—Anne L. Watson

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The Trail of Paradox

_____Paradox walked along a country road paying visits to anyone he encountered. He was a master of the human condition and wished only to share his insight with his fellow stewards in hopes of making their lives a bit more productive.
_____The first stop on his journey was a plantation where a farmer worked alone in bountiful fields. Paradox approached the man and began a pleasant conversation. The farmer showed him his beautiful garden and plentiful crops ready for market. He told him of the good fortune the weather had bestowed, as harvest was at hand. After several minutes, Paradox was able to see inside the farmer's soul and detected a great deal of stress.
_____"Excuse me if I'm being overly personal," Paradox inquired, "but I can't help noticing a great deal of unrest in your heart. Would I be prying to ask you why you feel such pressure?"
_____"It's very simple," the farmer explained, "I live with the fear of every man who ever held the land as his means of support. What if I am unable to feed my family?"
_____"Sir, I don't mean to be pretentious or to overstep my position, but I am a tremendous judge of the reality of the mind. It seems to me foolish to fear hunger when you stand amongst as beautiful a crop as I have ever seen."
_____The farmer looked at Paradox thoughtfully. "Thank you sir, it seems you make a good point. I will take your comment into consideration."
_____With this, Paradox left the farmer to his work and set once more on his way. The next person he saw was a young man pumping water from a well. He walked through the gate and into the man's yard and introduced himself as he approached the well.
_____"Would you like a drink of fresh water?" the man offered, holding out a tin cup.
_____"Why thank you my kind sir, I don't mind if I do." Drinking the water, Paradox felt refreshed. "It is cool and refreshing water, thank you."
____"That it is Mr. Paradox, this has been a most productive well. Each morning as I fearfully prime the pump, the water begins to flow easily."
_____"You said you primed the pump in fear," Paradox questioned, "why would this be?"
_____"That is really quite simple sir, I thought you said you were knowledgeable about man's emotions. This well is our only source of water. What would I do if it did not produce?"
_____"But sir, you said yourself it has been a most dependable well. Wouldn't it be a waste of precious peace of mind to worry about something that has been such a stable gift in your life?"
_____"I've never thought of it that way before. I do indeed despise inefficient use of my emotions. I shall examine my actions closely."
_____Paradox once again traveled on his way, hoping to make one more visit before stopping for his evening meal. He came upon an elderly man tending to his horse outside the barn. He introduced himself once more and entered into conversation with the friendly soul. After talking for a good while he learned a great deal about the man's lifestyle. He owned a very modest farm and was nearing the end of his dependence on its resources, for his daughter and son-in-law had done much to make his life comfortable. I asked him why he pampered his horse so.
_____He answered. "Musket here is my pride and joy. I couldn't live without her. She pulls my plow and tramples my grain. Without her there'd be no farm. I will not resort to machinery; it's not nature's way. Sometimes I can't sleep at night wondering what I will do when she is gone."
_____"Sir, your love for your horse is delightful, but may I ask you a question?"
_____"Yes, go right ahead."
_____"It seems to me," Paradox continued, "and I am a scholar of human nature, that you are torturing yourself needlessly. After any one of your sleepless nights, have you ever found Musket lying lifeless in the morning sun? How many times have your fears been validated?"
_____"I feel so embarrassed," the old man blushed. "I guess I've acted quite the old fool. Thank you for setting me straight."
_____Paradox left the man at his horse's side and journeyed to a nearby cafe. Over dinner he thought about the time he had spent with his three new friends. In all his days no one had ever taken to his philosophy so quickly and completely. It seemed they had each accepted his questions easily and thoughtfully. He wondered if they had truly seen the error of their thinking, and more importantly, he wondered if they would be able to change their condition accordingly. ____When he left the cafe and reversed his journey homeward, he could not believe what he saw. His question was answered in a most profound and horrifying way. Indeed the three had managed to act upon their erroneous thinking. The elderly plowman had put a bullet through his horse's head, the young man had capped his faithful well, and the farmer had just completed raping his land with a bulldozer.

© 1993 - Paul Stephens